States of India
Sarlamkai / Solakia Dance
This is an impressive dance originating from the Pawi and Mara communities in the southern part of Mizoram. This dance is known as 'Sarlamkai' whereas the Lushais referred to it as 'Rallu Lam'. In older days when the different tribes were constantly at war with each other, a ceremony to deride the vanquished beheaded skull of the enemy was usually held by the victor. This ceremony is performed to ensure that the vanquished soul remains a slave to the victor even when the latter also dies.
The derision ceremony usually lasts for 5(five) days. The first 2 (two) days is spent in merry-making, singing alongside drinks and a non-vegetarian feast. On the third day a pig is slaughtered and he victor paints his whole body with the animal's blood, which he only washes off on the evening of the fourth day or on the morning of the fifth day. During this 5(five) days period, the victor is not to sleep with any women. If he does so, the vanquished soul is believed to be infuriated and cause upon the victor, a permanent disability in life. Any person who brings about an occasion for such a ceremony is highly regarded and respected by the people, the king as well as his elders.
Therefore, every adult strives with all his or her capability to be such a hero. The courage and bravery of such heroes is a great consolation for the people when faced with any external aggression. It is during this ceremony that the 'Sarlamkai' dance is performed. As is obvious, it is a warrior dance performed to celebrate a victory in war. Songs are not sung; only gongs or cymbals or drums are used for making beats. In the dance, boys and girls standing in alternate position, dance in circles. They generally wear colorful dresses while the leader is dressed as a warrior.
Chailam: Chailam is a popular dance performed on the occasion of 'Chapchar Kut' one of the most important festivals of the Mizos. In this dance, men and women stand alternatively in circles, with the women holding on to the waist of the man, and the man on the women's shoulder. In the middle of the circle are the musicians who play the drums and the mithun's horn.
The musician playing the drum choreographs the entire nuances of the dance while the one with the mithun's horn chants the lyrics of the 'chai' song. For the dance to start, the drummer beats on the drum, and upon the fourth stroke of the drum the chai song is sung with the rhythmic swaying of the dancers to the left and right, in accordance with beats of the drum. Depending on the nuances followed, the chailam' has four versions, viz 'Chai Lamthai I, 'Chai Lamthai II, Chai Lamthai III and 'Chai Lamthai IV'. Legend has it that once a king and his men went out for hunting. Unfortunately, they failed miserably and had to be contended without a kill.
The king, then seeing the utter disappointment of his men, rose to the occasion and consoles them by inviting them for a drink of rice beer at his palace. On being intoxicated by the drinks, the party then culminated by singing and dancing followed by a sumptuous feast. Since then, every year, the community continues to enliven the memory of this occasion be celebrating it with various entertainment programs, thus giving rise to one of the most important festivals of the Mizos, the 'Chapchar Kut'. In this dance, musical instrument like drum and horns of mithun are used for making beats. The festivals continues for a week or more. In olden days, the 'Chai' dancers used to drink rice beer continuously during singing and dancing.